Iowa City’s Good Neighbor program is part of an effort to make the development process run more smoothly between property owners and developers who seek zoning and related changes, and the neighborhoods that may be affected by those changes. The Good Neighbor program is not a requirement, but rather a recommended approach that encourages proactive dialogue between property owners, developers and neighbors that may help identify and resolve issues before the project is reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Board of Adjustment.

For minor projects, such as a yard setback reduction, the approach may be as simple as knocking on neighbors’ doors to discuss the proposed project with them. For a rezoning or subdivision, it may be appropriate to hold a neighborhood meeting or open house to present the project and invite questions and comments from your neighbors. 

While the Good Neighbor program does not guarantee specific outcomes, answering neighbors’ questions and hearing their concerns or suggestions may provide the opportunity to developers/applicants to address concerns or objections before the project is reviewed in a public forum. This can minimize controversy and delays when a project is reviewed by the Board of Adjustment, Planning and Zoning Commission or the City Council.

Resources

Good Neighbor brochure

Sample of Good Neighbor meeting notice

Summary report for Good Neighbor meeting (fillable form)

Citizen's guide to the rezoning process

Board of Adjustment Frequently Asked Questions